The man in charge of China's premier race circuit has been removed from his post after it was shown that he was heavily involved in a major corruption scandal.

Yu Zhifei, general manager at the Shanghai International Circuit, had been under investigation since October, when it first emerged that a substantial amount of money had been misappropriated from the city's social security fund, has officially been sacked for using the money to purchase for a house and 'other illegal behaviours', according to Chinese news outlets.

The 54-year old graduated from running a small manufacturing company to controlling Shanghai's principal football club before taking the top job at the new motorsport facility. However, he became involved in the investigation after it was noticed that large quantities of the city's social fund had been siphoned off in the form of illicit loans and investments. Senior government officials and top businessmen were also caught up in the web, with around 100 central government officials sacked or re-assigned, as well as the head of Shanghai's Communist Party, Chen Liangyu, who was heavily involved in the construction of SIC.

Yu, who both promoted and organised the three Chinese Grands Prix, was also expelled from the Communist Party - along with others implicated in the scandal - but it is not yet clear whether he will face criminal charges. The grand prix, however, is unlikely to be affected by his exit, despite the investigation deciding not to question Yu before last year's race.

"The SIC, as a corporation, is not involved in the investigation at all," circuit chairman Mao Xiaohan told reporters at the time, "Some people acted completely on their own."

The circuit has already staged this year's Chinese MotoGP event and is scheduled to host the Formula One circus in early October.

 

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